ECREEE – Dakar, Senegal – 13th November 2018 – Stakeholders in the energy sector have called for the establishment robust partnership that would spur major investments in the area of sustainable energy and energy access. This was disclosed at the start of the 2nd edition of the ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum (ESEF) held in Dakar, Senegal from the 13th – 15th November 2018 on the theme ‘Achieving Sustainable Energy Targets in the ECOWAS Region’.
ESEF 2018 was designed to foster concrete progress in the implementation of the ECOWAS region’s ambitious sustainable energy targets. It aims to facilitate partnerships between ECOWAS policy makers, regional and international development partners, regional and international private sector players, financial institutions, academia and research and civil society representatives that would enable the region to implement its sustainable energy agenda on schedule.
Officially opening the forum, the Senegalese Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Mr Elimane Kane, congratulated ECOWAS for hosting the second edition of ESEF in Senegal. He described the initiative as a clear demonstration of the Commission to engage the government and the people of Senegal in their efforts towards regional integration.
According to the minister, the ECOWAS energy policy integration is an effective way to engage the international community to enforce Sustainable Development Goals Agenda for 2030, adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Mr Kane also urged Heads of States and Governments of the ECOWAS region to treat as a priority the United Nations Sustainable Energy Development Goals #7 regarding the access to reliable, affordable and modern energy services. He, therefore, urged the Member States to work towards ensuring universal access to energy and electricity services; double the rate of improvement of energy efficiency; as well as the rate of renewable energy penetration in the energy mix by 2030.
In a bid to achieve these targets, Minister Kane encouraged the ECOWAS Member States, in collaboration with ECREEE to develop and validate their National Action Plans of Renewable Energy and for Energy Efficiency. He also acknowledged the technical assistance from ECREEE by developing the Sustainable Energy Development Project for Renewable Energy (DPER-SE) in the south-west of Senegal – a project which provided electricity access to 3,000 households in the regions of Ziguinchor, Kolda, Sedhio and Tambacounda.
In his remarks, the Minister of Energy of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, stressed the need for sound planning in the renewable energy sector as well as improved energy access. Minister Sesay said that project efforts are becoming more streamlined and transparent. He noted that ambitious new regional projects highlighting potentials of standalone systems and associated market barriers should be addressed in a bid to attract off-grid companies.
The Commissioner for Energy and Mines at the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Sediko Douka, pointed out that the ECOWAS Commission is committed in achieving the goals contained in the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy and the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policies in a bid to increase the penetration of renewable energy in the energy mix to 10% by 2020 and 19% by 2030. Regarding the Energy Efficiency front, Commissioner Douka sad the objective is to free 2GW of capacity of electricity and to double the energy efficiency measures in order to achieve the efficiency levels of the leading countries.
In his welcome address, the Executive Director of ECREEE, Mr Mahama Kappiah said the annual forum provides ECOWAS Member States with the opportunity to assess progress made at national and regional levels towards achieving the 2020/2030 sustainable energy targets. He urged delegates to share lessons learned, foster knowledge exchange and disseminate best practices on technological and financing innovations to support a more sustainable energy future. Mr Kappiah, therefore, called on member states to exploit and efficiently utilize the current energy resources in a bid to ensure universal energy access in the region.
The representative from the World Bank, Mr Manuel Luego, spoke about the engagement of the World Bank Group in supporting regional initiatives aimed at developing sustainable energy market in the ECOWAS region. He pointed out that the World Bank is currently engaged with ECREEE to support the development of the off-grid market in 19 countries in West Africa, through the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP).
The project is aimed at fighting the energy poverty region where out of the 395 million inhabitants; approximately 244 million have no access to electricity. Mr Luego underscored the importance of providing access to those not connected to the grid and therefore emphasized the need for more cooperation to enable West African countries to build an off-grid solar market for the region with support rendered to entrepreneurs and businesses by ROGEP.
As part of the opening ceremony, the CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, Rachel Kyte, also presided over the launch of SE for ALL’s 2018 Energizing Finance Report. Other speakers at the ceremony included the USAID Power Africa Director, Cheryl Voisard, and Christophe Yvetot, UNIDO Representative for Senegal, Cabo Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania.
It would be recalled that the ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum (ESEF) was instituted in 2017 by the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) to bolster efforts of member states, along with local, regional and International initiatives in harnessing the region’s vast renewable energy potential by facilitating investment in the regional energy sector.
Alongside ESEF 2018, an exhibition is being hosted for organizations showcasing their products and services for visibility. The exhibition is being attended by all actors across the sustainable energy value chain which includes manufacturers, EPC contractors, financing institutions, as well as energy distributors and suppliers amongst others.